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Mthuli Ncube pressured to reveal source of funding for POLAD vehicles

by Staff reporter
26 Aug 2021 at 06:49hrs | Views
The Youth Alliance of Democracy (YAD) has demanded that the government discloses the source of funding for 19 brand new vehicles bought for the leaders of small political parties who backed President Emmerson Mnangagwa's disputed 2018 election victory.

The Isuzu vehicles, worth an estimated US$1.14 million, were parcelled out to more than a dozen leaders of political parties invited by Mnangagwa to a grouping he called the Political Actors Dialogue (POLAD). Combined, Mnangagwa's 16 rivals in POLAD accounted for about five percent of the vote. Three other vehicles were gifted to the POLAD secretariat.

In a letter to finance minister Mthuli Ncube, YAD director Tichaona Masiyambiri challenged him to divulge the source of funding for the vehicles Mnangagwa doled out to "promote public accountability."

Masiyambiri wrote: "We kindly request information on where funding for vehicles allocated to POLAD principles was drawn from. By making this request, we are guided by Section 62 (1) and (2) of the 2013 Constitution of Zimbabwe which states that every Zimbabwean citizen or permanent resident including juristic persons… has the right of access to my information held by the state or by any institution or agency of the government at every level, in so far as the information is required in the interests of public accountability.

"The information required is meant to promote public accountability and protection of access to information as a human right."

The main opposition Movement for Democratic Change Alliance argued that there was no law allowing the government to use taxpayer funds sponsoring small parties that don't meet the legal threshold to access government funding.

Under the Political Parties (Finance) Act, only opposition parties "whose candidates received at least five percent of the total number of votes cast in the most recent general election shall be entitled to the same proportion of the total moneys appropriated as the total number of votes cast for its candidates in the election bears to the aggregate of votes cast for all politic."

Government spokesman Ndavaningi Mangwana defended the splurge.

"So, it's ok for foreign governments and their NGOs to resource the activities of opposition parties, but wrong for own governments do so?" argued Mangwana.

MDC Alliance spokesperson Fadzayi Mahere described the donations as "the abuse of state resources" to "fund an unelected, captured, false dialogue outfit."

Masiyambiri, who is thought to be preparing a legal challenge, said the government had an obligation to ensure the "efficient and economic use of resources" as well as to ensure the "provision of services, impartially, fairly, equitably without bias."

"By making this request, we are guided by section 194 (1) (e) which states that people's needs must be responded to within a reasonable time," concluded Masiyambira.

Ncube has yet to respond to Masiyambira.

Source - zimlive